home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 16, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 6: Postgame

Warriors 103, Celtics 90

Q. Ime, it's a tough ending here. What was your message to the team after this loss?

IME UDOKA: It's going to hurt. It will hurt for a while. Probably that stuff never goes away. I've lost one before.

That was part of the message. Let it propel us forward, the experience. Growth and progress that we made this season. Obviously, getting to your ultimate goal and fall a few games short is going to hurt. There are a lot of guys in there, very emotional right now.

The message was we thanked them for the effort and the growth and everything they allowed us to do coaching-wise this year. The biggest message was learn from this, grow from it, take this experience and see there is another level to get to. A team like Golden State who has been there, done that. It was evident in a lot of ways.

Just don't come back the same as players, coaching staff. Let this fuel you throughout the offseason into next year.

Q. You talk about things you're going to learn. Obviously one of them is turnovers and taking care of the ball. What did Golden State figure out about you guys that they were just able to do so consistently in that way?

IME UDOKA: Well, they did what they did. Rotation-wise, they are very consistent with where they're at. Don't make a lot of mistakes.

I'm sure as our turnovers piled up throughout the series, if you look across the playoffs, it was an area of emphasis. You could pretty much look at the box score and see if we won or lost based on a few things.

Them being consistent, more so I'm sure in that locker room they're saying be solid, be solid, get in your spots, they'll give it to you in some sense.

Our thing is we had guys growing and learning to be playmakers, look for their own scoring. That's the next phase of it, is seeing different defenses and being solid against that.

Once again, you look at the numbers, they get 103 on the night. Give them 20-plus on turnovers, 20-plus on second-chance points. Don't really give ourselves a chance as far as that.

They're a solid team, a championship team that has been there. I think it's six out of eight years. You can see the consistency on that side, what they did with us, turning us over.

Q. Looking to the summer, Rob obviously has to take care of his knee. What kind of a program are you laying out for him?

IME UDOKA: Strengthening his body, that's the main thing in general. We said it coming into the season. He had his highest minutes per game this year. We wanted him to be able to play longer stretches. I think he achieved a lot of things and had a lot of growth on the court.

But a big part is taking care of your body and staying available. Obviously, had to strengthen up his legs, build all the muscle around it to protect his knees. But what I did tell him also was credit for playing through what he did and giving it a go, being out there for us.

Now it's time to rest up, heal up, be ready for next season and come back in better shape, better than you were this year coming into the season.

Q. You mentioned learning from it, growing from it. What do you want Jayson in particular to take from this experience? This series was challenging for him at times, frustrating for him. What do you want to see him pull away from it and carry into next year?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, learn and understand who he is in this league. You're an All-Star, All-NBA First Team guy for a reason. This is only the start of how you're going to be guarded and the attention you're going to draw.

One thing that he's always done throughout the season was seeing multiple different coverages and figured it out. He did that throughout the first few series. This was one a rough one. Very consistent team that did some things to limit him and make others pay.

For him, it's just continuing to grow and understand you're going to see this the rest of your career. This is just a start.

The growth he showed as a playmaker this year and in certain areas, I think this is the next step for him. Figuring that out, getting to where some of the veterans are that have seen everything and took their lumps early in their careers.

Like I said, very motivated guy that works extremely hard, high IQ, intelligent guy that will learn from this and figure it out. I think it will propel him to go forward, definitely motivate him.

Q. You guys made so much progress throughout the season to get rid of that stagnation that plagued you in the fourth quarters. Throughout the playoffs you found a way to keep the ball moving. Didn't really happen the last few games. Why do you think that fell away the last few games? What does everyone on the team need to continue to learn about moving in crunch time?

IME UDOKA: You want versatility. That's the main thing. A team like Golden State that has isolation guys that can go get a basket. Also, they're willing playmakers but have off-ball actions and variety, which keeps you off balance.

For us, we know we have guys that can go get a basket. It's more about big picture, not getting stagnant, to your point. We can lean on that when we have to. When teams are singularly focused to take certain guys out, we have to have a fallback, whether it's off-ball actions, post-up actions, some of the things we did tonight and throughout the season and playoffs at times.

Strengthening up those areas, being more well-rounded. So when they try to take something away, we can obviously learn from that. That's kind of the biggest conundrum all year, how we looked at times, took a step back a game or two later, even in the same game. I think those lulls in this series, today it was the end of the first quarter-start of the second. Those are the ones that really hurt you against a lethal offensive team.

Q. You've been on championship teams before. Did it come to a realization, I don't know if it was tonight, you might not have enough? Otto Porter is out there hitting threes. Jordan Poole. They seemed to have all the weapons. Is it kind of frustrating to admit we just may be not quite there?

IME UDOKA: No, I wouldn't look at it like that, because we had our chances throughout the series. Losing Game 4 and Game 5, we had leads in the fourth quarter. You tighten up and do some things offensively, it's a different story.

So winning two games, falling two short, even tonight with a great start, then letting that go a little bit. It's a 13-point game. They score 103. There was just a lack of overall offense.

Obviously, guys didn't play their best and our bench the last few games struggled. They've been consistent all year. I don't really look at it like we didn't have enough. Our guys didn't play their best, honestly. Credit Golden State for that. They had a huge part in that. Very consistent team on the defensive end. When you look at them across the board, they have one, maybe two defensive-minded guys with Green and Payton. Everyone else is solid and consistent. Really good team defense in general.

Don't feel like we didn't have enough. Just felt like we played probably our worst series of these playoffs. If we play up to the standard of Milwaukee or the Miami series, it's obviously a different ballgame, especially in those Game 4 and 5 when we struggled in the fourth quarter.

Q. You mentioned before that Golden State's experience kind of showed through this series. You mentioned some of the bench issues you have had up and down the roster. Do you think a lot of this was you guys being on the stage for the first time as a group and sort of having to try to get used to everything that comes with it, whereas those guys, their leading guys have been through this so many times before?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, no, I don't really look at the experience or lack of being in the Finals as a huge factor. It's obviously beneficial for them. But more so our experience as a group together and connectivity, you can see the difference between the team who has been there that long and some of our new guys, especially some core guys that got added midseason, with a guy like Daniel that is not playing as much or Derrick.

But the experience of being in the Finals, I don't think that moment was too big. Obviously we were 2-2 at a point and had a chance to do something special.

I think we were battle-tested throughout the playoffs in some really hard series. The Finals was another step in that direction, but I think more so experience as a team as opposed to experience of the Finals in general was a factor.

Q. You talked all series about how your offense was the thing that was going to determine whether you'd win or not. Besides the turnovers, what were they doing that gave you guys so much trouble up and down the roster in terms of not being able to get the production you wanted?

IME UDOKA: Some of the switching. Like I said, consistency was the biggest thing. Where other teams may be solid for a quarter or two, they stayed consistent as far as that. Really stuck to their morals. We didn't make them pay, or gave them the ball.

Very consistent group as far as that. They weren't going to beat themselves. Puts a tremendous amount of stress on you to score and keep up with them what they do offensively.

I think we guarded well enough, as I said. I think they averaged maybe 104 throughout the series. Guarded well enough, but offense obviously was a hindrance there. More so than anything, just our consistency in general.

Q. Jaylen said you were learning almost on a daily basis as you went about this. What did you learn about your team in the first year and how excited are you for the future with this core?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, we learned a tremendous amount about each other as a staff and them learning what we wanted and vice versa. That's the message to the guys tonight. This is just the start. A foundation has been set. We can kind of hit the ground running next year. Let's get healthy and all be on the same page.

I think he's absolutely right where we kind of expedited the process of some of the things we wanted to do. Now it's a matter of taking that next step.

What I did say to the group was there are levels. You can see the difference in Golden State, a team that's been there, been together for a long time. The core group, it's been 10 years now. We've seen what we can achieve. It hurts we fell short of that. But what I did say is the future is bright and we're just getting started, so let's all come back better from this experience.

Q. We've talked a lot about the physical toll this run has taken. Did you get a sense of some mental fatigue as well?

IME UDOKA: No. Anytime you play some tough, seven-game series, there's going to be some of that. We had time off. I think we came in refreshed, energetic throughout the series.

I'm sure that's part of it. Not only mental but physical as well, with Rob playing through some of the things he was, being in and out in previous series. It probably had a toll on Al where we had to overextend him at times. Jayson and Jaylen grinding us out of, Marcus as well, all those guys had some bumps and bruises at some point. Having to fight those two hard-fought seven-game series.

Probably had something to do with some physical fatigue, but I think everybody is going through some of that in the playoffs. We had enough initially early. But it was more mental lapses than physical, in my opinion.

Q. A lot of teams get deep in the playoffs and kind of fade away. You've been on a team that took disappointment as a coach and came back from that. What are the challenges to doing that? What do you impress upon your players that they need to do to approach this off-season to use this to propel them forward?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I think not playing our best, probably playing our worst overall series is motivation enough. We have very highly motivated guys that didn't play their best, honestly. We're all going to grind away in the summer, improve in certain ways.

I think the biggest part for us is the IQ section. That's where we saw a huge difference in consistency with us and Golden State, just the little things that experience only can teach you. For us, that's the message.

Obviously, losing on a buzzer-beater against Ray Allen when I was in San Antonio will kind of fuel you throughout a whole season. But this was a little bit different. We improved in a lot of areas, but fell short of our ultimate goal. Some guys didn't play their best. That's going to motivate guys throughout the season.

Like I said, the message is everybody come back better. Let's not be satisfied. It's not guaranteed you're going to be here. The East is getting tougher every year. They'll come back better. We will as a staff as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297